KEXP at Iceland Airwaves 2013, Day 1: Emilíana Torrini

Iceland Airwaves, Live Performances
Katy McCourt-Basham
photos by Morgen Schuler

Next on the KEXP Iceland Airwaves broadcast live from KEX Hostel in Reykjavik was spectacular Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini. Even if you do not know her name, you are still very likely familiar with some of her work. Torrini has participated in a wide variety of projects, including writing and recording music for Lord of the Rings, and co-writing Kylie Minogue. You have also, at some point, probably tapped your toes to the infectious “Jungle Drum,” the hit single from her critically acclaimed 2008 release Me and Armini. Tookah, Torrini’s brand-new album, is a bit of a departure from the energetic Me and Armini. Where Me and Armini was upbeat and catchy, Tookah is quiet and introspective, hypnotic and eerie. Torrini describes “Tookah,” a word she fabricated, as “the core of you, the you when you were born before life decorated you like a Christmas tree with all your baggage. It is what connects us with everyone and everything.”

KEX was packed to the gills with festival-goers excited to catch an intimate set from Emilíana Torrini. There was a definite buzz in the air, the crowd erupted into cheers when her first song began. Beginning the set was "Tookah," the eponymous single from her most recent album. The song featured tribal-esque beats and dreamy guitars, all perfectly complementing Torrini's voice, soaring over the crowd.

Next was "Animal Games," a slow, sparse song that felt rather ominous. Following that was "Sunny Road," a song with a more forlorn, old-west feel, complete with slide guitar and saw. "Autumn Sun" featured sweet, beautiful harmonies. Emilíana Torrini finished the set with "Home," a more jazz-influenced number, and the only song of the set featuring drums. Where the other songs featured more sparse, quiet instrumentation, "Home" really let the band shine, perfectly complementing her voice.

Next on KEXP at 10:00 PST/17:00 GMT is Caveman. Stay tuned! For more information about the KEXP broadcast from Airwaves, click here.

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